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New strings, dull low E

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Joseph Schuyler, Apr 3, 2017.


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  1. Joseph Schuyler

    Joseph Schuyler

    May 4, 2016
    Hi, all
    On my SoundGear SR500, I recently changed my strings from DR Sunbeams (.045, .065, .085, .105) that still had sufficient life left in them, to some D'Addario Half Rounds (.05, .07, .085, .105) that were gifted to me.

    The new set of strings have a bright enough sound to them that lets the treble cut through except for the low E string. It sounds as if the low string was then worse than the Sunbeams that I had just removed. I put the old string back on to make sure it wasn't the old strings, but the sound had just muffled the other strings as well. Has anyone experienced this with their bass?

    I've made sure that the intonation is on point, the pickups aren't too close/far away from the string, and the action is fine. The others strings are fine, but the low E is just muddy and dull.

    What could this mean?
     
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    To clarify let me make sure I have the order of events correct.
    1) Old strings sounded "OK" but you got some new strings so, what the heck, let's put them on.

    2) Everything sounded fine on the new strings except the E string.

    3) Swapped out for the old strings to make sure they weren't a problem. Everything sounded just as before except the E string was now dull on the old strings.

    Is that it or did I get confused?
     
  3. Joseph Schuyler

    Joseph Schuyler

    May 4, 2016
    Correct, correct, and correct. The old strings were still resilient as anything, but I wanted to try the new ones.
     
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Wow. I was ready to chalk it up to one bad string from D'Addario. (I have been using them for thirty years and came across only a couple over the years myself.)

    But then when we got down to the OLD E string sounding dull too, I got lost. Especially since it sounded fine before. I'm interested to see what responses you get.
     
  5. Joseph Schuyler

    Joseph Schuyler

    May 4, 2016
    Yeah, it's pretty frustrating. If we remove the aspect of the old strings sounding bad after reapplying, as in just having issues with the new strings, what would you suggest?
     
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Pure guesses.

    Check your nut and bridge saddles. Being the points where the strings contact the bass they could have something to do with it.

    I always have better luck with both tone and fret buzz when there is a lot of break angle at the nut. In other words, wind the strings in a way that the string is forced downward on the post as you wind it so as to create a "bend" in the string as it crosses the nut. I am a pretty physical player and this works out well for me.

    I sold a gazillion of those basses when I worked in MI. Never heard of this issue. Electronically it doesn't make sense. I don't think there are independent coils in the pickups for each string. So the pickups shouldn't be an issue. Even if the E string end is a little low, it won't be much lower than the A string area of the pickups unless it severely ramps in that direction.

    I wish I had more for you. Hope this gets sorted out.
     

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